In this series, we at The Brooklyn Game examine the players on this Nets roster that have a decision to make — and what the Nets can do. Today’s look is at Shaun Livingston.
What the Nets can offer Shaun Livingston:
Shaun Livingston is an unrestricted free agent, meaning he can sign with any team he chooses and the Nets don’t have the right to match any offer. The Nets can offer Livingston the entirety of their taxpayer mid-level exception, or about $10.3 million over three years.
If they use that exception elsewhere, they can also use their non-Bird rights to offer him 120% of last year’s minimum salary. But after last year’s breakout season, Livingston will command more on the open market, so it’s taxpayer mid-level or bust.
Why Shaun Livingston will stay:
As with most free agents, it’ll be mostly about the money with Livingston, who told The Brooklyn Game during the season that he was happy to know he’d be a desirable player. “I’m blessed to be in this situation,” Livingston said in March. “I’d rather be in this situation than the opposite situation, trying to figure out, ‘okay, am I gonna have a job next year?'”
Earlier this season, Nets general manager Billy King stressed that re-signing Livingston was the team’s top priority, all but assuring they’d offer him the $10.3 million max.
If other teams don’t want to offer more than the exception, than Livingston will likely stay in the New York area, where he’s made his home in the past year. It’s also possible that Livingston will eschew other offers and stay in Brooklyn if he feels the Nets provide his best opportunity to compete.
Why Shaun Livingston will go:
Money. Livingston lost millions with his gruesome knee injury in 2007, and has been working on limited one-year deals ever since. But the team’s starting guard finally has a market where he can capitalize on his talents, and at 28 years old, he’s young enough and springy enough to play at a high level for a few years.
Livingston has already been linked to the Minnesota Timberwolves, who have more money to offer than the Nets. Livingston could also entertain a taxpayer mid-level offer from a team in Texas or Florida, like the Miami Heat, in states which carry no income tax.
Livingston will go. There’s too many teams with cap space and bigger exceptions that can give him a more appealing financial offer. It would be incredible if he stayed, considering how well he played in the starting lineup next to Deron Williams and how thoughtful a player he’s proven to be. But I expect Livingston to get more money on the open market.